Investigating the effect of artists’ paint formulation on degradation rates of TiO2‑based oil paints

Birgit van Driel, K. J. van den Berg, M. Smout, N. Dekker, P.J. Kooyman, Joris Dik

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    This study reports on the effect of artists’ paint formulation on degradation rates of TiO2-based oil paints. Titanium white oil paint exists in a multitude of different recipes, and the effect of the formulation on photocatalytic binder
    degradation kinetics is unknown. These formulations contain, among others, one or both titanium dioxide polymorphs, zinc oxide, the extenders barium sulfate or calcium carbonate and various additives. Most research performed
    on the photocatalytic degradation process focusses on pure titanium white-binder mixtures and thus does not take into account the complete paint system. Since photocatalytic oil degradation is a process initiated by the absorption of UV light, any ingredient or combination of ingredients influencing the light scattering and absorption properties of the paint films may affect the degradation rate. In this study three sets of experiments are conducted,
    designed using the design of experiments (DoE) approach, to screen for the most important formulation factors influencing the degradation rate. The benefits of using DoE, compared to a more traditional ‘one factor at a time approach’ are robustness, sample efficiency, the ability of evaluate mixtures of multiple components as well as the ability to evaluate factor interactions. The three sets of experiments investigate (1) the influence of the TiO2 type, (2) the impact of different mixtures of two types of TiO2, ZnO and the additive aluminum stearate and (3) the influence of common extenders in combination with photocatalytic TiO2, on the photocatalytic degradation of the oil binder. The impact of the formulation on the degradation rate became apparent, indicating the shortcoming of oversimplified studies. The protective effect of photostable TiO2 pigments, even in a mixture with photocatalytic TiO2 pigments, as well as the negative effect of extenders was demonstrated. Furthermore, the ambiguous role of ZnO (photocatalytic or not) and aluminum stearate is highlighted. Neither can be ignored in a study of degradation behavior of modern oil paints and require further investigation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number21
    Number of pages14
    JournalHeritage Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Titanium white
    • Oil paint formulation
    • Gloss
    • Degradation rate
    • Design of Experiments (DoE)
    • OA-Fund TU Delft


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